Rampart Lakes, Rachel Lake Trailhead, Seattle: Alpine Lakes Wilderness - Snoqualmie Pass - Central Cascades, Washington

Rampart Lakes - 10.2 miles

Rachel Lake Trailhead

The first Rampart Lake in the Rampart Ridge Basin

The first Rampart Lake in the Rampart Ridge Basin

Round-Trip Length: 10.2 miles
Start-End Elevation: 2,800' – 4,980' (5,044’ max elevation)
Elevation Change: +2,180’ net elevation gain (+2,602’ total roundtrip elevation gain)
Skill Level: Moderate-Strenuous
Dogs Allowed: Yes
Bikes Allowed: No
Horses Allowed: No
Related Trails:

Rampart Lakes - 10.2 Miles Round-Trip

The Rampart Lakes are located 5.1 miles from Rachel Lake Trailhead in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness. The Rachel Lake Trail follows a long glacial valley east of the Cascade Crest and scales a steep headwall to Rachel Lake.

It continues another 375' up before dropping to Rampart Lakes in the Rampart Ridge Basin, a cluster of scenic lakes tucked among heather and blueberries east of the eponymous ridge. Visitors will enjoy three waterfalls along Box Canyon Creek and airy alpine travel on the pass between the lakes:

Trail Map | Photo Gallery

Blueberries on the Rachel Lake Trail - Alpine Lakes WildernessFrom the parking lot, walk the road back to find the trailhead on the far side. The trail starts with a brief climb on rooted, eroded tread to the Alpine Lakes Wilderness boundary near Box Canyon Creek (.4 miles : 3,033').

Travel eases through huckleberry, hemlock and fir to a set of mossy boulders and waterfall on the creek (1.2 miles : 3,185').

It stays mostly level through open thimbleberry patches to a trail junction for Hilbox Mountain (2.4 miles : 3,325'), then edges back to the creek and turns sharply up the headwall of Box Canyon toward Rachel Lake (2.75 miles).

The trail passes consecutive waterfalls along Box Canyon Creek at 2.85 miles (3,465’) and 3.0 miles (3,550’). Travel steepens without the aid of switchbacks on an eroded and oft-muddy path to a third waterfall, which cascades over a granite slab with nice views down Box Canyon (3.5 miles : 4,095').

It continues on rocky terrain before leveling off on the final approach to Rachel Lake (4.1 miles (4,667’). There's a privy and numerous campsites around the lake. Follow signs north (right) at Rachel Lake for Rampart Lakes, Lila Lake and Alta Peak.

The trail arcs around the north shore and climbs steeply up the far wall to the Rampart Lakes – Lila Lake Junction on a divisive ridge between the Rachel and Rampart basins (4.6 miles : 5,042’).

Enjoy great views over Rachel on the way up, and partial looks at Gold Peak Basin on the gentle, rolling descent to the first Rampart Lake (5.1 miles : 4,980'). Social trails thread the lake complex under the tall shadow of Rampart Ridge to the west.

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Interactive GPS Topo Map

Key GPS Coordinates - DATUM WGS84

  • N47 24.053 W121 17.017 — 0.0 miles: Rachel Lake Trailhead - 2,800'
  • N47 24.335 W121 17.195 — 0.5 miles: After climb trail flattens along creek - 3,075'
  • N47 24.623 W121 17.466 — 1.0 miles: Follow creek to boulders & waterfall - 3,160
  • N47 24.836 W121 17.795 — 1.55 miles: Continue up valley - 3,226'
  • N47 24.999 W121 18.227 — 2.0 miles: Level travel with emerging views of Hibox - 3,271
  • N47 25.158 W121 18.548 — 2.4 miles: Pass a side trail in thimbleberry heading north - 3,325'
  • N47 25.350 W121 19.058 — 3.0 miles: Trail rises past two waterfalls - 3,551'
  • N47 25.266 W121 19.374 — 3.5 miles: Trail climbs steeply to Slab Waterfall - 4,096'
  • N47 25.390 W121 19.605 — 4.0 miles: Trail levels out on approach to Rachel Lake - 4,547'
  • N47 25.362 W121 19.751 — 4.1 miles: Rachel Lake - 4,667'
  • N47 25.441 W121 20.047 — 4.6 miles: Climb steeply to Rampart Lakes - Lake Lila Junction
  • N47 25.091 W121 20.255 — 5.1 miles: Rampart Lakes Basin - 4,980'

Worth Noting

  • Continue north (right) from the Rampart Lakes – Lake Lila junction for a scramble up Alta Peak to spectacular views that extend from Rainier to Glacier Peak.
  • Amongst northwest native tribes, thimbleberry stands were claimed and tended by individual families; the large, maple-like leaves were rolled up and used to collect the berries.

Camping and Backpacking Information

  • An overnight Wilderness Permit must be filled out at the TH and carried for the duration of your trip in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness. Max group size is 12.

  • Camping is allowed only at designated sites within 1/2 mile of Rachel Lake and Rampart Lakes.

  • Campfires are not permitted above 5000' east of the crest, or at Rachel Lake and Rampart Lakes.

  • Car camping is available at nearby Kachess Lake Campground, accessed by turning right at the T-intersection 5.2 miles from Exit 62.

Fishing Information

  • Fishing is allowed with a valid WA state fishing license.

  • Contact the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife for more information.

  • wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/

Email: [email protected]
Sport | Commercial Licenses: 360.902.2434
Disability Licenses: 360.902.2460

Rules and Regulations

  • A Northwest Forest Pass or $5 fee is required at this trailhead.
  • A free day use or overnight Wilderness Permit must be filled out at the TH and carried for the duration of your trip in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness.
  • Dogs must be leashed at all times in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness.

Directions to Trailhead

The Rachel Lake Trailhead is located 9 miles from Exit 62 on I-90, 12.5 miles east of Snoqualmie Pass.

From I-90, exit 62 to Kachess Lake Campground and turn left off the ramp. Follow signs 5.2 miles on FR 49 to a T-junction. Going right at the T leads immediately into Kachess Lake CG. Turn left at the T for Rachel Lake Trailhead (FR 4930) and proceed .5 miles until a Y-junction is encountered. Bear right and continue another 3.3 miles to the parking lot and Trailhead on a rough, potholed road.

The parking lot holds 25 cars with overflow parking along the road, and has bathrooms. Note that the Trailhead is accessed from the road, not the parking lot.

Contact Information

Okanogan - Wenatchee National Forest | Cle Elum Ranger District
803 West 2nd Street
Cle Elum, WA 989222
509.852.1100

Reference Trail #1313

Trip Reports

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